Posted Tue, Apr 17, 2007 by Cody Bye
Sex is everywhere. If you don’t think so, just turn on your TV, visit your supermarket, or go to a professional sporting event. Everywhere you look sex is prominently displayed, whipping our more basic functions into a loin-aching frenzy. It’s a highly sexualized world, and we’re highly sexualized people.
Despite this driving fascination with sex that many of us possess, there’s still little in the gaming marketplace that functions to appease this desire in a mature, adult-oriented manner. Games like Leisure Suit Larry - while being fun to play - are based on humor rather than actual sensuality. God of War provided a small amount of sex, in mini-game and bare-breasted format, but it certainly wasn’t a focus nor did it have any major point throughout the game. In truth, the sex game market is wide open.
There are a few designers and developers within the gaming industry who are looking to take advantage of the sexually primed world around them. Kelly Rued, President and Creative Director of Black Love Interactive, is taking that a step further and not only developing a game based around sex…but making a sex-based MMO.
Kelly Rued is trying to bring sex to the MMO market.
While at IMGDC, we had a chance to sit down and chat with Kelly over lunch. She was eager to discuss the concepts of sexuality and gaming, as well as the social medium that is the MMO environment. Even for the casual observer – like me – it’s strikingly apparent that sex has already penetrated our every day MMOs. “People are playing sex games in the current crop of MMOs, mostly on the RP servers but on the normal servers as well. They spend a good deal of time figuring out ways to interpret real-life sexual positions in-game,” Kelly said. “So why won’t developers add some more social functions into these games?”
Mostly, it comes down to business. Many of the MMO developers don’t want to deal with an AO rating or any of the legality issues that arise when games start including more gratuitous animations for /kiss, /hug, or /buttsqueeze. People’s privacy begins to come into question, and the design problems associated with animating two characters in social sequences is equally challenging.
Rued, however, wouldn’t mind if there was a sort of compromise between what is available and what could enhance the gameplay of those interested in more sensual parts of an MMO. “In LotRO, when I /kiss my boyfriend…all I get is a blown kiss,” she said. “Many gamers – like me – want just a bit more. The basics. Hug, kiss, cuddle, or spooning would all be fairly tame animations that would add to a sensual gamer’s experience.”
Unlike most MMO fans complaining about a lack of social functions in games, Kelly is actually trying to do something about it. A few years ago, Kelly began the creation of Rapture Online, a 3D MMO that is looking to integrate a solid amount of fantasy-based gameplay with a good measure of sexual activity. While RO hasn’t yet come to fruition, Kelly has begun work on a new project, Gods of Desire. Working with the Multiverse platform, Kelly is hoping to spring open the marketplace for more sexually oriented games.
While most gamers would at least have a passing interest in a sex-based title - thus generating a few sold copies - I was curious how Kelly was going to implement sex into the game for the users who wanted to progress as characters. “In Gods of Desire, we’re going to make two paths of advancement: a combat ladder and a sexual ladder. A character can advance up each of these two paths separately, and each will have content specific to its allotted area,” Kelly said. “For example, we’re going to have end-game, raid-type content for the sexual ladder as well as the combat ladder. You can let your imagination let you know what that’s going to be like.”